10/21/2011 3:39PM

Belmont Park: Mucho Macho Man gearing up for return to action

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Barbara D. Livingston
Mucho Macho Man is likely to return to the races at Aqueduct.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Mucho Macho Man, one of just three horses to have competed in all three Triple Crown races this year, is nearing a return to the races.

On Friday, Mucho Macho Man worked six furlongs in 1:11.40 over the Belmont Park training track. Working out of the starting gate, Mucho Macho Man was timed in fractions 22.87 seconds, 45.82, and 57.47 by New York Racing Association clockers. His work was timed from the 5 1/2-furlong pole to a half-furlong past the wire.

“He worked good, he looked great, he finished well,” trainer Kathy Ritvo said. “He hadn’t been to the gate for a long time, so we thought we’d bring him there.”

Mucho Macho Man finished third behind Animal Kingdom and Nehro in the Kentucky Derby. He then finished sixth in the Preakness and seventh in the Belmont Stakes. Mucho Macho Man was given time off and didn’t return to the work tab until mid-August. He worked four times from Aug. 12 through Sept. 2, but then got sick and Ritvo had to stop on him.

Friday’s move was Mucho Macho Man’s third breeze since Oct. 6. Though he is nominated to next Saturday’s Bold Ruler at Belmont Park, Ritvo said she would wait until Aqueduct to run the colt. There are several races in the first condition book for which Mucho Macho Man is eligible at Aqueduct, when that meet opens Nov. 4.

Last year, Mucho Macho Man finished second behind To Honor and Serve in both the Nashua and Remsen – both Grade 2 races at Aqueduct.

“We want to make sure he’s fit,” Ritvo said. “He’s been coming back from his breezes very, very well.”

Mucho Macho Man, Animal Kingdom, and Preakness winner Shackleford were the only horses to run in all three Triple Crown races.

Saratoga Snacks sidelined

Saratoga Snacks, the New York-bred 2-year-old owned by former football coach Bill Parcells, will be sidelined the remainder of the year due a stress fracture in his right front pastern.

Trainer Gary Sciacca had planned to run Saratoga Snacks in Saturday’s Bertram Bongard on New York Showcase Day, but the horse was injured in his most recent workout.

Sciacca sent the horse to New Jersey-based equine surgeon Patty Hogan, who inserted a screw into the pastern. Sciacca, who was expected to get the horse back Friday afternoon, said Saratoga Snacks would need 30 days of stall rest and 30 days of walking before resuming training next year.

Sciacca said that Parcells, who won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants, told him injuries “happen to your Lawrence Taylors. They don’t happen to your bad ones.”

Saratoga Snacks is a New York-bred son of Tale of the Cat who won a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race in his second start Saratoga.

“If missing New York Showcase Day is our only disappointment, we’ll be okay,” Sciacca said. “My big year was going to be his 3-year-old year anyway.”

◗ Patrons will be forced to pay $2 to park during the upcoming Aqueduct meet, NYRA president Charlie Hayward confirmed Friday.

The reason for the charge is that Genting plans to charge $1 an hour to park at Resorts World New York, the casino that is scheduled to open Friday.

Hayward explained that the track couldn’t offer free parking if the casino was going to charge to park.

Admission to the track and casino will remain free.